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The Benefits of Remote Control Grinding

By Brad Burns


I have often heard the objection to owning and/or operating a remote controlled grinder as “lack of feel” when operating the machine and, more commonly, justifying the additional expense.

Having been a polishing contractor, I can relate to and understand the challenges of the job site.  When we find a “system” or process that works we tend to stick with it. However, to be successful in our industry, you must be willing to occasionally take a step back and review your current processes; evaluating them to see if they remain efficient and effective to your goals.

There are many ways to establish the effectiveness of a grinder.  We can certainly appreciate the immediate and distinct feedback a grinder offers when we maintain a death grip on the handles - especially when renovating a 40 year old concrete floor or removing a thick coating.  I remember visiting one of my projects and witnessing a lead operator, complete with the “death grip”, teeth gritted, and sweat dripping from his brow, trying to tame an out-of-control grinder while his helper (all of 110 lbs.) clung to the motor and front weights helping to fight the beast. Although this scenario may be common, it is not normal.  In this case, the operator wasn’t supplied the proper diamond tooling, and trying to make the best of what he had, he was using a mixed/matched set of aggressive metal bonds for his initial grind.  More times than not, we are the cause of our own frustrations - which leads me back to the issue of “feeling” the grinder.

Any particular piece of equipment has many ways of indicting performance. We can not only “feel” a grinder struggle to grind a high spot or running smoothly across a floor, but also hear the diamond tooling as it refines the concrete, see the machine rock, roll or glide with the counter effects, view the amount of slurry or dust generated, smell the heat of the diamond tooling (if improperly matched to the concrete) and, of course, access the scratch patterns.  So why would we be so adamant about physically wrestling a 1,200 lb. machine for 8 to 10 hours per day?

If you remember back to your beginning in the business, it’s a bit scary, yet exciting to purchase that first grinder.  You probably were thinking, “How much production can I actually get out of this machine? The salesman made it look easy and I hope my projects run that smoothly!  I’ve already got 3 to 4 jobs in mind that I just know the customer is going to love the look of polished concrete”. I’m sure we can all relate to similar thoughts as we began our journey into the polishing industry.  Then, reality sets in and we realize that making a profit in this industry is much tougher than we thought and purchases take on a new aspect.  Especially when considering the additional expense of a remote control.  Isn’t that just a luxury that I can really do without, like electric windows and door locks on the truck?  Not at all!  When you really begin to analyze the benefits, you will see that owning a remote control grinder can have a tremendous return on your investment - and quickly!

Let’s start with the simple math.  When comparing the HTC 950 RX to a conventional floor grinder, the 950 RX has at least a 30% increase in production.  This alone could account for approximately $1,500 in savings on a 10,000 sqft project by completing the project faster (using a 3 man crew with an average of $50 per hour labor cost).  Yet, when you compare the required manpower to run an HTC 950 RX, it only takes ONE guy to operate the grinder, manage the dust containment systems, and move the cords and vacuum hoses. He still will not be as physically drained at the end of the day.  Now, analyzing the same project, you could eliminate the extra manpower and save an additional $2,100.00 in labor cost. However, if they owned an HTC 950 RX, they could have tripled their production during the same period, bringing in an additional $60,000 of revenue (10,000 sqft @ $3.00 per sf. = $30,000 x 3 = $90,000).

This alone would make a contractor stop to reconsider the justification for a remote control floor grinder.  But the benefits don’t stop!  A remote control floor grinder is not something that is seen on a daily basis. The project manager, owner, architect and other trades will comment on how professional and “cutting edge” your company appears - and this will in turn bring you additional business!  While completing a project at Lockheed Martin, we drove the HTC 950 RX into the building where engineers design and built billion dollar jets, only to have them gather around to gawk at the remarkable machine.  Some even wanted to try their hand at operating it - leaving me to feel a bit guilty, like Huckleberry Finn luring in free labor.

Making a profit in this industry requires concise, calculated and smart decisions. So, taking the time to consider a remote controlled grinder from HTC (950 RX, 800 RX and 650 RX) is certainly worth the time and effort. We’ll even bring one to your location and demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the innovative design HTC is known for.

Do you accept the challenge?

  • Brad Burns
    Product Manager Floor Solutions & HTC Academy
    HTC Floor Systems America

    Brad Burns
    817-253-5538 brad.burns@husqvarnagroup.com